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New NZ push to extradite Iraqi accused of drowning 353 asylum-seekers

New NZ push to extradite Iraqi accused of drowning 353 asylum-seekers
NEW Zealand prosecutors are making a renewed push to extradite a refugee to Australia to face people-smuggling charges over the drowning deaths of 353 asylum-seekers, The Australian said on Saturday.

Iraqi-born Maythem Kamil Radhi was one of three alleged organisers of the voyage of the Siev X, a small and overcrowded boat that sank off the coast of Indonesia while bound for Australia in October 2001.

Mr Radhi, who was granted UN refugee status before the sinking, has lived in New Zealand since 2009 with his wife and children.

In 2011, the Brisbane Magistrates Court issued an arrest warrant for him, alleging his involvement in people-smuggling.

Police allege Mr Radhi was in charge of passenger fares for those on board the Siev X and helped them board the vessel.

In March 2012, a District Court judge in New Zealand said he could be arrested by NZ police to face charges in Australia.

But that decision was overturned by New Zealand High Court Justice Edwin Wylie in February, following an appeal by Mr Radhi.

Justice Wylie said Mr Radhi could not be extradited because if his alleged offence had occurred within New Zealand jurisdiction, it would not have been punishable by more than a year's imprisonment.

Under the provision of the Extradition Act, the alleged offence must carry a maximum penalty of at least 12 months' jail for the person to be eligible for extradition.

At the time of the Siev X sinking, the maximum penalty in New Zealand for people smuggling was three months' imprisonment. Under a new law brought in last year, offenders face up to 20 years in jail and a $NZ500,000 ($A412,000) fine.

Crown prosecutor Christine Gordon, QC, told New Zealand newspaper the Herald on Sunday she has applied to appeal the High Court decision.

Mr Radhi's lawyer Roger Chambers plans to oppose the application.

Two other men are serving prison sentences for their roles in the Siev X incident. Khaleed Daoed is serving a nine-year sentence in a Queensland prison for people smuggling after a 2005 conviction, and Abu Quassey was sentenced to seven years in an Egyptian jail.
Last Modified: Saturday، 23 December 2017 02:02 PM